Wedding Vendor Review

Hi girls,    

Now that I’m almost 2 months out of my wedding and life is finally beginning to settle down back down to normal, I wanted to add our vendor reviews.  I found those posted on the Utah board incredibly helpful when planning our wedding and would like to return the favor.  This is a short list of vendors reviewed.  Below are more details for those interested—I tend to be verbose : )

We got married in our parish church and used our church music group.  So the vendor review doesn’t really apply.

Dress: David’s Bridal
Makeup: Andrea Duffin
Photographer: Mike Brice
Cake: Crème de Bakery
Flowers: Wedding Dreamer
Day of Coordination: Wedding Dreamer
Dance Lessons: DF Dance Studio and Ryan Dark
DJ: squawkboxsound
Limo: VIP Limo
Rehearsal Dinner: Golden Dragon
Wedding Night Hotel: Little America
Sunday Brunch: Chartwells Catering at University of Utah
Reception: Log Haven
Video: Remember When
Charter Bus: Salt Lake Express/Charters 

Dress: 5 stars.  David’s Bridal.  Had a good experience shopping there.  The salespeople were helpful but not pushy and very good about picking a dress that would match my style.  I absolutely LOVED the dress.  A-line, strapless, embroidered, slimming.  It’s also up for sale—only because my closet space is limited.


Makeup: Andrea.  5 BIG STARS.  This girl was absolutely awesome and a total lifesaver.  I was planning on doing my own makeup until I had a practice session with Andrea at the MAC counter.  I just couldn’t go back to doing my own makeup after that.  She managed to make my face look great, but still like me.  She does freelance makeup and I have her permission to put her contact info in the review:  andreacduffin@gmail.com 

Photographer: Mike Brice.  5stars.  This was an extremely weird coincidence.  He was my brother’s photographer in Ohio a year ago and then moved to SLC.   I loved my brother’s photos as well as the fact that he got a web link and a CD of 1500+ digital photos as part of the package and was hoping to find someone exactly like that in SLC.  I love pictures and actually enjoyed making my own albums.  And then I find out that this guy moved.  He posted several photos the night of the wedding and had others ready within 2w.  Awesome pictures, really nice guy, you get photos back fast, affordable.  What more can I say : )  www.mikebrice.com

Cake: Crème de Bakery. 5 stars.  It is an Asian style bakery which worked well since neither my husband, I or our families are big fans of traditional American cake (too sweet and heavy).  These cakes are lighter but still delicious.  I wish I had gotten to actually eat it at the reception… But more on that later.  801-268-1680  

 Flowers and day of coordination: 5 stars for flowers and 4 for coordination.  Wedding Dreamer.  I found out about them from a response to one of my posts last year.  It's a sort of a budget "all things wedding" place in American Fork. You can rent the whole decor, buy cake, photographer, flowers, and either extended or day of coordination.  I ended up going with their flowers and 4hrs of day of help.  (We needed to move a lot of decor from the church to the reception and set up at both places)  Their prices were way better than any other place I looked.  The flowers were beautiful.  A bit of the nitpicky things are that they are were really hard to get in touch with at times and did not return e-mails in a timely manner.  Also our coordinator seemed a bit lost in a Catholic church.  I think 90% + of what they do are LDS ceremonies.  www.weddingdreamer.com 

Dance Lessons: DF Dance Studio and Ryan. 4 Stars Even though my husband and I have four left feet between the two of us, we managed to get thought the whole dance without tripping or embarrassing ourselves.  We also ended up hiring Ryan to do a short swing dance instruction during our actual reception which turned out really well.

DJ: squawkboxsound.  4 stars.  A husband and wife DJ team.  I got their info from the Knot board and apparently that’s where most of their refferals come from.  They were very helpful, friendly, and accommodating (we had some international and hard to find music).  Also great music selection and their prices are significantly better than the competition.  They say it’s because their referrals are from other clients and they don’t advertize—which made sense.  My only warning is to make sure you have a designated DJ contact person for the actual reception and point them out clearly.  We kind of had a person but made the mistake of not introducing her to the DJ.  So they kept touching base with me and honestly I just didn’t want to be “in charge” anymore.  www.squawkboxsound.com

VIP Limo. 4 stars. I looked around and these were the only people who had the option of “splitting” time in 1hr increments.  So they picked up the girls at home and dropped them off at church, then picked up wedding party at church and dropped us off at the reception, then picked me and my husband up at the reception and dropped us off at the church.  Every other service would have us hire the car for the entire night (or at least 4hrs at a time) even if we were not going to use it.  So this worked out well.  Car was clean and had cold water, ice, and glasses.  Drivers were courteous and on time.  info@slclimo.com

 Rehearsal Dinner: 4 stars.  Golden Dragon.  My husband is Asian and his parents insisted on Chinese food for the rehearsal and apparently Golden Dragon is the best option.  It was very good.  801-467-1721  

Wedding Night Hotel: Little America.  3+ stars.  The hotel is very nice and reasonably priced.  As part of the bridal suite you get a bouquet of roses, chocolate covered strawberries, and sparking juice in a champagne bucket with champagne glasses, as well as a commemorative key engraved with your names and the wedding date.  The view from the balcony is awesome.  Those are all the good things.  Now how they got the 2 stars off.  The room comes equipped with a bathroom scale (WHY?) but no coffee.  Apparently you can call downstairs and have a coffee maker brought up.  When we did, we were told they were all out and that we could go downstairs to the restaurant to buy coffee.  If they were out of complimentary room coffee makers I would expect them to bring in complimentary coffee in a jug or mugs!  Not ask guests to go downstairs to buy their own.  Maybe it was a Utah thing, but it was highly irritating to 2 coffee addicts and did not go with the whole being spoiled and people treating you nicely on your honeymoon. 

Sunday Brunch: Chartwells Catering at University of Utah.  4 stars.  We though an outdoor brunch at Sugar House Park would be nice.  And it was.  Catering though was a huge headache.  What I didn’t realize is that most companies do not cater on Sundays.  The annoying response we kept getting was that they would love to cater our event---if we changed the date.  These guys were actually open on Sunday and the brunch was great. 

Reception: Log Haven.  4 stars. The setting is absolutely beautiful and the food was amazing.  Joni and Faith--the event coordinators--were wonderful to work with and very flexible (we had some unusual elements in our multicultural reception). We were able to do engagement photos and our wedding party photos at Log Haven and the lake and waterfall across the road.  Absolutely fabulous setting.  Would definitely go with them again, no question.  Here is the nit-picky little things that I wish I would have clarified ahead of time and advice for you ladies as future brides : ) 

1)      Vegetarians.  This was our own fault.  My advice (for any reception venue) is to give them a seating chart with the names of the people who ordered a special meal and/or to designate them somehow on the place cards.  We unfortunately didn’t do that.  So the waiters went around with the vegetarian meal plates asking at each table whether anyone would like a veggie meal.  I don’t think our guests realized that they were actually asking who ordered one ahead of time.  And the vegetarian meal looked and smelled (and tasted) delicious. . .  So we had guests who didn’t order a veggie meal ahead of time take one and had to add these to our food charge.  Arg.

2)      Specify who is going to be not only on premises but “in charge” during the reception and if possible request that it be the actual coordinators.  We worked with Joni and Faith during the entire planning process, but it was one of their junior assistants we haven’t met before who was there the day of.  There were several little things (like no forks and plates for the cake during cake cutting, champagne toast being passed the wrong time, etc) that had to do with having someone less experienced and less familiar with our reception be in charge.

3)      Make it very clear if you want some left-over food packed.  We actually did make it clear with Joni and Faith, but didn’t have it in writing and I guess they either didn’t pass it on or the junior assistant forgot or “forgot.”  Health regulations don’t allow them to pack leftover buffet food and we had no problem with the restaurant staff (even those not involved in our reception) eating the dinner.  They ARE however allowed to pack leftover appetizers and cake.  One of the random pieces of advice we got is to have a small box with appetizer samples packed for us since we’re likely not going to be able to eat much during the reception.  So we asked for that and heard that of course they’ll do it.  But no box.  It didn’t end up being much of a big deal because we did get to eat dinner.  But we missed most of cocktail hour because of photos and would have liked to at least sample the food we ordered! 

The cake I was a bit more upset about.  We had a 3 layer cake which was much too big for our small number of guests but looked really nice.  We were planning on serving leftovers during our brunch the next day.  Since it was brought from an outside vendor, we had boxes ready to have it packed.  The cake disappeared.  I wish I could say that it was because it was so good our guests devoured 5 pieces each.  We heard from some of our guests that when they went to get a second slice of a different flavor it was gone.   We saw staff (involved and not involved in our reception) eating the cake and were told the “random loud people at the bar” were eating it as well.  

4)      Now more about the random loud people at the bar….When we were looking into reception venues, the big thing Log Haven had against it when compared to Mill Creek Inn was that it was not in a private setting.  So the restaurant is still open.  They told us (and it made sense at the time) that since it’s a high class restaurant people come there to celebrate their own special occasions and not to interfere with others.  And that the restaurant closes before the end of the reception at 11:30.  This held mostly true.  Restaurant patrons usually just glanced at the reception when walking to their tables. 

I’m not sure what happened after 10-10:30PM.  I think the restaurant part was closed, but there was this loud group of people sitting at the bar chatting with the wait staff and the bartender.  We didn’t know whether they were regular patrons (Log Haven seems a very strange and out of the way place to go to if you just want a bar) or friends of the staff waiting for them to get off of work.  Since they were sitting at the bar, they were effectively blocking the way to the little bridal change room.  I was also a bit worried since I had stuff in that room and couldn’t lock it.  Then two of the women decided to join the dancing.  They really stood out: in jeans and T-shirts, loud, and drunk but no one from the staff noticed or asked them to leave until my sister in law pointed them out to the waiter.  And apparently they were eating our cake.  I hope they were not drinking our alcohol, but have no way to tell.  So my advice would be to really clarify not only that someone experienced will be on hand to handle situations like wedding crashers, but also regarding the times the bar not only the restaurant is open.  It really didn’t occur to us that people would come to Log Haven just to drink… and crash weddings.

But again these were just a couple of minor things that I had wished someone had mentioned to me earlier.  Overall I still loved the location and would have picked them again no question.

 Video: Remember When.  ? Stars Can’t really say much…  We decided on video of our ceremony at the last minute giving in to family pressure.  These guys were professional and not in the way during the ceremony.  However it is now 1.5mo out of the ceremony and no video yet.  I don’t know if it’s just because we were last minute clients or whether it’s their usual timeline, but it’s getting kind of ridiculous.  So my advice would be to clarify exactly when the video will be ready before booking anyone.  rw@rememberwhenvideos.com 

Charter Bus: Salt Lake Express/Charters.  0 stars.  Most of our guest where from out of state or from out of the country and we wanted to be nice and provide transportation to and from the reception.  This company was absolutely awful and we are in the process of trying to get some of our money back.  The bus driver had no idea about SLC layout, did not bother to look up directions ahead of time and did not bring a map or a GPS.  So he was an hour late dropping guests off at the reception which meant they missed cocktail hour and wedding party entrance.  Then he argued about making an early and a late trip dropping guests off at hotels—despite that being what was agreed on in the contract.  Absolutely unprofessional. 

Hope this is helpful to someone!  And check out my other post if you are interested in buying a wedding dress or any other wedding items.  Good luck!



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